News Release

US Department of Labor recovers $270K in back wages after finding Nashville restaurant required servers to illegally share tips with dishwashers

Employer failed to pay proper minimum wage, overtime

NASHVILLE, TN The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $270,751 in back wages after investigators learned a Nashville restaurant required servers to share tips with dishwashers and failed to pay some workers overtime wages when required. In all, 82 employees will benefit from the wage recovery.

Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined Cilantro Five Points Inc. — operator of Cilantro Five Points Mexican Grill and Tequila Bar and Cilantro Restaurant Inc. — violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements when they did the following:

“Restaurant industry employees work hard for their wages, especially for the tips they earn for good customer service. They depend to these tips to help make ends meet,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Lisa Kelly in Nashville, Tennessee. “By federal law, tips belong to the people who earned them, and employers are prohibited from withholding or redirecting these earnings.”

“In this case, Cilantro Five Points Inc. also failed to pay proper minimum wage and overtime to workers,” Kelly added. “The Wage and Hour Division makes numerous resources available for employers, either online or by calling our local offices, to make sure their pay practices comply with the law.”

These findings follow investigations at two other Tennessee restaurants, Grecian Steakhouse and Coco’s Italian Market and Restaurants, where the division also identified FLSA violations. In fiscal year 2022 Division investigators recovered more than $27 million for more than 22,500 workers in the food service industry nationwide.

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers can call the division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.

Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free, also available in Spanish.

Wage and Hour Division
June 16, 2023
Release Number
Media Contact: Erika Ruthman
Media Contact: Eric R. Lucero
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